Noni is a small evergreen shrub or tree, usually less than 10 feet high, occasionally rising to 20 feet. The conspicuous large dark green shiny leaves are generally paired, except where forming fruit. Thick and oval in shape, these leaves are deep veined, short-stemmed and 8 inches or longer. The flowers form in globose heads, about an inch long and bearing many small white flowers. The flower heads grow to become mature fruit, 3 to 4 inches in diameter. The fruits resemble those of 'Ulu, Breadfruit, only smaller. The surface is divided into somewhat warty polygonal pitted cells. The Noni fruit begins green, turns a waxy yellow, and as mentioned, has an unpleasant, insipid, foul or fetid odor, especially as it ripens to whiteness and falls from the tree. One of Noni's special interests is its specialized seeds. Although they cannot travel long distances at sea, they do possess a woody watertight airsac that enables them to float between closely spaced islands. Noni's seeds can survive over a year in salt water and still germinate.
Noni have many helth benifits like:
Noni is sometimes called starvation fruit. Despite its strong smell and bitter taste, the fruit is nevertheless eaten as a famine food and, in some Pacific islands, even a staple food, either raw or cooked. Southeast Asians and Australian Aborigines consume the fruit raw with salt or cook it with curry. The seeds are edible when roasted. In Thai cuisine, the leaves (known as bai-yo) are used as a green vegetable and the fruit (luk-yo) is added as a salad ingredient to some versions of somtam. Traditional medicine: Green fruit, leaves, and root/rhizomes might have been used in Polynesian cultures as a general tonic, in addition to its traditional place in Polynesian culture as a famine food. In traditional Chinese medicine, the roots, known as ba ji tian, have been used for abdominal pain, impotence, and menstrual disorders. Although Morinda is considered to have biological properties in traditional medicine, there is no confirmed evidence of clinical efficacy for any intended use. Consumer uses: Morinda bark produces a brownish-purplish dye that may be used for making batik. In Hawaii, yellowish dye is extracted from its roots to dye cloth. A variety of beverages (juice drinks), powders (from dried ripe or unripe fruits), cosmetic products (lotions, soaps), oil (from seeds), leaf powders (for encapsulation or pills) have been introduced into the consumer market.